Monday, September 3, 2012

Handmade Fairy Tails: A Version of Thumbelina

I like to write. I like to draw. I like to paint...unfortunately, I don't always have time to do all of these things. Ha-ha-ha! When I was initially concepting the Handmade Fairy Tales project, I knew I wanted to have an updated version of each of the stories to go along with the illustrations. I knew it was going to be an ambitious project, but we like books and wanted something that families could share. We also wanted something a little darker than the mainstream because we don't like the idea of insulting our children's intelligence. So far, I like to think that they pay us back for that.

     It's hard for me to give up control of projects. I don't feel like I'm a good delegator, and I'm used to working alone. I am however blessed with several very talented friends, and after thinking hard about how much work I needed to get done I asked around to see if anyone was interested in doing a little writing for me. I am SO GLAD I did! Not only are the stories all done, but they're all done on time and are really great. It's been a real treat seeing them come together from the ground up, and as I'm nearing finishing the artwork I'm really looking forward to sharing them with you!

     Rob Lammle, from wrote a two fantastic versions of Thumbelina for us. The first was a modernized take on the classic tale, it's funny and clever, and I think captures the characters well. Unfortunately, it didn't really fit with the rest of the content in the book so he decided to go a different way with it. I didn't want it to go totally unused though, so I asked if it would be okay to showcase it here along with the illustrations for the actual story...I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.


by Rob Lammle

Thumbelina sipped her thimbleful of Caramel Macchiato with seven drops of vanilla, light foam, extra caramel, and non-fat milk while she leaned on the side of her iPhone, waiting for it to connect to the coffee shop’s notoriously weak, but free, wifi.  It had been a long day at the office – tax season, ya know? – and she’d earned this small caffeinated, sugary respite. 
She glanced at her Gmail app icon with disdain.  It had been staring at her all afternoon; glaring with its silent, but accusatory “5” just above the red-lined envelope.
Thumbelina sighed.  Might as well get it over with.  She tapped on the icon and the program opened.

Inbox (5)
Hi, LittleWoman34! My name is Nancy Toad. I saw your profile on and I just had to write and tell you about my son, Todd.

Todd is 36 years old. He's the Assistant Manager at the mini-mart on Marsh St. He’s worked there since he was 16, so loyalty is obviously very important to him. He’s intelligent, very polite, takes care of his laundry most of the time, and never makes me cook for him (although sometimes I make him a home-cooked meal so that he'll eat something other than those microwave Hot Pocket things). He’s very independent, but insists on staying at home to take care of me ever since his father became the lunch special at that horrible Freddy's Frog Legs Restaurant back when Todd was just a tadpole. Isn’t that sweet?
So, LittleWoman34 (if that is your real name haha!), Todd would love to meet you. He normally works Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am – 4pm, so any other time would be fine.

Nancy Purloin Toad

Inbox (4)

So I’ve been talking to my sister and her friends, and they say you’re not pretty enough for me. I mean, you only have two legs. You have beady little non-segmented eyes. You have a strange mouth. No feelers on your head. Heck, you don’t even have wings.

I mean, I'm sorry, but I'm just being honest - it's not me, it's you. I think I’m just too much insect for you. I’m looking for a real May Bug, not some weird little human. So, anyway, yeah, I’ll see you around.

Mitch Cockchafer

Inbox (3)
Hi, Thumbelina!

It’s your old (very old. haha) friend, Mouse.

Guess who stopped by my burrow today? That’s right – that dark and handsome man in the velvet coat, Mole.

He said he came just to say hello, but all he could talk about was you, my dear. He just went on and on about how pretty you were, how much he loved your singing voice, how you were such a good cook, etc. He asked if you’d ever dated an older man. He didn’t come right out and say it, but, c'mon, he has to be interested.

Oh, Thumbelina, if you and Mole got together… He’s so smart and sophisticated. He has more food than you two would ever need. And his burrow – his burrow is HUGE! It’s at least twenty times bigger than my little place (and you and I were pretty comfortable that winter you stayed with me. Imagine having Mole’s house to roam around in!)

Anyway, think about it and let me know what I should tell him the next time he comes around.

Love ya,
Tanya Field Mouse

Inbox (2)
Hi there, LittleWoman34!

Look, there's no easy way to say this, so...

I think you're really great, but I think we should just be friends. It's just that, I'm only here for the winter, so I don't want either one of us to get too attached. I really do wish there was some way we could make this work, but with me migrating all the's just not the kind of life that a woman like you should have. Besides, you've seen my place – it's far too messy for someone as great as you.

But, seriously, if you want to get dinner sometime or coffee, I'd love to see you again. Maybe this could be the beginning of a great friendship. I hope so, anyway.

Talk to you later.
Jack Swallow

Inbox (1)
Hi, LittleWoman34!

My name is Prince. I'm 25. I live in the forest, where I'm King of the Flower Spirits (it's a living). I saw your profile and, well, you are stunning! Not to sound too creepy, but if you were here right now, I'd probably just ask you to marry me straight out. I know, crazy, right?

I know we'd have to get to know each other better first, but if you'd be interested, you'd have your own pair of wings so you can flit around the meadow where we'd live. Of course, with the title of Queen of the Flower Spirits comes a name change (hope you don't mind). It's totally up to you, but I see you as a May Blossom; I think that has a nice ring.

Did I mention the golden crown? Because there's a golden crown, too.

Anyway, if you're interested, check out my profile and hit me up.

Hope to hear from you soon.
 Thumbelina tapped on the link to Prince's profile.  It took a while for the webpage to come up (shoddy, free wifi...), but when it finally did, Thumbelina gasped.  The tiny man in the photos was, for lack of a better word, beautiful.

The photos were pretty typical for a dating profile: the obligatory pet picture (he has an adorable little aphid!), the common groomsmen photo of him in a tiny tuxedo, Prince in his rock climbing gear as he tackled the dizzying heights of a garden gnome, etc.   In each photo, he flashed a kind, warm smile.  His silver hair shimmered in the sun.  His transparent, dragonfly wings mesmerized Thumbelina; she'd never seen anything like them. 

But the one photo that got her, the one that reeled her in, was taken at dawn as the sun rose over the meadow.  The light refracted by the morning dew gave the whole thing an otherworldly glow.  Prince sat cross-legged on the center of a daisy, looking into the glorious morning below.  The sun hit his face just right and he looked totally at peace.  He was in his element.  That is where he belonged.  And suddenly, Thumbelina wanted to belong there, too.

She tapped on the “Contact” button at the top of his profile.  Her Gmail popped up.
                Hi, Prince.

                My name is Thumbelina (AKA LittleWoman34). 

                Wanna get coffee sometime?

 Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend,

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